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{Makeovers} Out-of-control closet makeover

2010 December 22

Compulsive hoarding may affect up to 2 million people in the United States according to an article from WebMD.

And while not everyone qualifies as a hoarder, many FOFs admit to having pack-rat tendencies. A few months ago, when FOF ran a closet makeover giveaway, we got hundreds of responses from members who were desperate to clear the clutter.

FOF Myra Garber won the closet edit with style expert and organizer extraordinaire, Ali Barry. Here’s her winning response to our question: “What is one item from your closet you can’t part with?”

“I can’t part with an orange/yellow harlequin sweater that my grandmother made for me when I was 12. When I wear it, I remember her.” Myra’s winning response was one many FOFs can relate to, the difficulty of parting with an item that is attached to significant memories or an important person in their lives.

When Alli visited Myra’s home in Wantagh, N.Y., she still hadn’t parted with the sentimental harlequin sweater she wrote about… and 50 other sweaters that spanned three decades.

“I probably have sweaters I could get rid of,” said Myra. “I recently retired from my full-time job as a teacher, but I still have theme sweaters I wore with the kids. I have ones with animals, figures, a Halloween sweater, and one with bears I wore when we took the students on a nature trip upstate. It’s probably time to get rid of some.”

Alli and Myra conquered her closet with this 5-step plan that Alli says will work for even the most persevering pack-rat.

*To find an organizer in your area, visit the National Association of Professional Organizers’ (NAPO) website.

Take a look at a few of the sweaters Myra and Alli sorted through. Tell us, would you keep, donate or re-purpose each? Then see what Alli and Myra decided.

What would you do with these sweaters?

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What Alli and Myra decided: Re-purpose them. Myra hadn’t worn these sweaters in years, but thought maybe she’d wear them when visiting her grandchildren. “You’re crafty and like to knit,” Alli said to Myra. “Why not cut out the mermaids, starfish buttons and other embellishments and re-purpose them into gloves or a scarf for your grandchildren? This way they won’t take up valuable real estate in your closet if you aren’t wearing them.”
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What would you do with this sweater?

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Alli and Myra’s decision: Donate it. “The arms were too big, pattern is a bit dated, and the color didn’t do much for her,” says Alli.
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What would you do with this sweater?

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Ali and Myrna’s decision: Keep it. “It fit her well and the color is neutral. It would go well with jeans, black pants or leggings,” says Alli.
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  • Jen says:

    Love these kinds of stories. I do try to have my closet under control but… recently we moved to a little old cottage after our family home and we are living out of moving hanging wardrobes. I really had to decide what I would be wearing for the 3 months or so until new wardrobes are installed. Remember the old 80-20 rule? Even with about 20inches of hanging space, there is still stuff I have not worn! Yet I can also see my seasonal outfits and feel really happy wearing those lovely pieces quite regularly… Interesting lesson going forward!

  • Joan says:

    I can relate to what Myra’s closet looked like, but having lived in an apartment for many many years you learn that when you buy new you get rid of old. Hope she can keep it up!

  • Myra says:

    Thank you again for the closet makeover! It was fun to read this and see it here!

  • b says:

    I have all those outfits that look absolutely stunning…on the hanger. They are very difficult to donate/throw away. So I set a few day aside and make myself wear them…if they don’t feel right I just bite the bullet and put them in the Goodwill box. My comment usually is “Now I remember why I don’t wear this!” Looking good on the hanger is not good enough and trust me, things do not come back in style…they just look tacky!

    b

    http://www.retireinstyleblog.com